Fine Art Print - The Gift of Sophia by Shandi Azk

Size: 12" × 16.5" (21 x 42cm)

Giclee Print on High Quality Splendorge Photo 340gsm paper

The Gift of Sophia or the Birth of the Emerald Light
This icon is inspired by the cosmogony of the Ophites who represented (and represent) one of the different Gnostic currents.

In their vision, the last Aeon, Sophia “gives life” to the Demiurge. But, far from the Source, this last divine manifestation is imperfect, dark. He created the material world and humanity. Being imperfect, his creation is too, imperfect. Sophia is also, in a sense, fallen, or at least, she has failed. She is the mother of the Demiurge Ialdabaoth and for that the previous Aeons hold her responsible. It is his remoteness from the Source that causes this cosmic drama.

Sophia, Wisdom, seized with pity, love and understanding for this new humanity trapped by its creator, decides to give it a chance to rise up, to be able to get out of the prison world.

She sends the Serpent, the Bearer of Light, into this painful realm. He / She is the Fallen, this is His Sacrifice. The serpent is at the same time an entity in its own right but also a part of Sophia Herself. He is the one who will come and bring humanity out of its ignorance, launch it in the quest for eternity and knowledge.


My painting was built upon a religious representation of Mary, a reproduction from the 50s and 60s. Repainting on existing icons is both a transgressive and subversive act and takes what the icon has to say into another reality, mystic and sorcerous. Here, Mary becomes a support for the manifestation of Sophia, seen as a Manifestation of the Great Mother, the Primordial Mother, She who resides before the creation of the world. Sophia has also been related to the Black Virgins. For me, this black color is not a question of skin color, but rather the symbol of something cosmic, archaic and underground at the same time. The hidden virgin loses her veil, the one that the initiate, after having endured the trials of Initiation, can lift to contemplate the Face of the Mother. It is also Binah, the sephira associated with Saturn.

From her Yoni, the 13-petalled Black Lotus - the Abyss, Daath - emerges the Serpent-Dragon, the Emerald Light that brings liberating knowledge to nascent humanity. He / She is our Lord / Lady, the Father-Mother-Witch, the Lord / Lady of the Flame, the Initiator. He / She descends to the material world, He / She falls in a liberating sacrifice opening the way to awakening.

Ialdabaoth is shown here emanating from the feet of Sophia, the hylic part of the body. He is seen as a dark entity, the Shadow of Death. The spirits surrounding Sophia are 12 in number and are in analogy with the 12 signs of the Zodiac, the hours, the months but also the 12 initiatory tests, because She is the one who imposes the tests so that the Hero, or the initiate, is revealed as such. She is the One I call 'Our Lady of the Fallen Stars'...

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